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Media as a Manipulator and Stress Inducer: Study describes impact of post 9-11 media exposure to dreams

Research finds assocation between 9/11 television viewing and increases in stress

BOSTON - Dream journals being kept by students in a college psychology class have provided researchers with a unique look at how people experienced the events of 9/11, including the influence that television coverage of the World Trade Center attacks had on people's levels of stress.

Reported in the April 2007 issue of the journal Psychological Science, the study data finds that for every hour of television viewed on Sept. 11 - with some students reporting in excess of 13 hours watched - levels of stress, as indicated by dream content, increased significantly. In addition, the study found that time spent talking with family and friends helped individuals to better process the day's horrific events.

"We had not set out to conduct a scientific study of TV viewing and trauma," says lead author Ruth Propper, PhD, an Associate Professor of Psychology at Merrimack College in North Andover, Mass. "But it so happened that students enrolled in one of my courses during the fall 2001 semester were already in the process of keeping dream journals on a nightly basis. As the events of 9/11 were unfolding, I realized there was a valuable opportunity to find out what impact both media coverage and social interactions were having on individuals throughout the course of this tragedy."

Evil Rays

Shocking!!! 9-11 Dreams Study Suggests TV Coverage Boosted Stress

A study of Americans' dreams in the weeks before and after Sept. 11, 2001, suggests that TV coverage of the terror attacks actually increased viewers' stress levels.


Comment: DUH!!! Too bad they couldn't have taken the research to the next step to discover that this is exactly the reason that such television coverage is repeated endlessly - it's not an accident.


Health

Family turmoil and violence results in stress-induced physical problems in young, Cornell psychologist finds

Adolescents who are chronically exposed to family turmoil, violence, noise, poor housing or other chronic risk factors show more stress-induced physiological strain on their organs and tissues than other young people.

However, when they have responsive, supportive mothers, they do not experience these negative physiological changes, reports a new study from Cornell.

But the research group also found that the cardiovascular systems of youths who are exposed to chronic and multiple risk factors are compromised, regardless of their mothers' responsiveness.

The study, led by environmental and developmental psychologist Gary Evans, is published in the March issue of Developmental Psychology. It is the first study to look at how maternal responsiveness may protect against cumulative risk as well as the first, according to the researchers, to look at cardiovascular recovery from stress in children or youths.

Magic Wand

To understand the big picture, give it time -- and sleep

Memorizing a series of facts is one thing, understanding the big picture is quite another. Now a new study demonstrates that relational memory -- the ability to make logical "big picture" inferences from disparate pieces of information - is dependent on taking a break from studies and learning, and even more important, getting a good night's sleep.

Led by researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH), the findings appear on-line in today's Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

"Relational memory is a bit like solving a jigsaw puzzle," explains senior author Matthew Walker, PhD, Director of the Sleep and Neuroimaging Laboratory at BIDMC and Assistant Professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School (HMS). "It's not enough to have all the puzzle pieces - you also have to understand how they fit together."

Adds lead author Jeffrey Ellenbogen, MD, a postdoctoral fellow at HMS and sleep neurologist at BWH, "People often assume that we know all of what we know because we learned it directly. In fact, that's only partly true. We actually learn individual bits of information and then apply them in novel, flexible ways."

For instance, if a person learns that A is greater than B and B is greater than C, then he or she knows those two facts. But embedded within those is a third fact - A is greater than C - which can be deduced by a process called transitive inference, the type of relational memory that the researchers examined in this study.

Wine

Care for a drink? Alcohol 'makes fruit healthier'

Strawberries are good for you but having them in a cocktail may make them even healthier, a study suggests.

The fruit contains compounds that can protect against cancer, heart disease and arthritis.

But having them with alcohol, such as in a daiquiri, boosts these antioxidant properties, the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture says.

Nutritionists said the "detrimental effects" of such drinks could cancel out such benefits.

Ambulance

Disputable findings! Scientists prove that salty diet costs lives

Eating less salt reduces the chances of suffering a heart attack or stroke, the first long-term study of salt's impact on health confirms today.

Comment: The facts presented above are however not agreed upon by all.
The following website deals with some of these myth:URL
Shaking Out the Myths About Salt

Dr. McCarron listed these common misconceptions about sodium chloride:

Myth: Sodium intake has increased over the past century.

Actually, data on sodium excretion going back for 125 years show that sodium intake has remained constant.

Myth: People consume more salt than they need.


In fact it is salt restriction, not salt consumption, that is nonphysiologic. Worldwide, sodium intake is remarkably consistent across extremely diverse populations, environments, and food sources.

Myth: All people would benefit from some degree of restriction of their salt intake.

Only a minority of the population is salt sensitive and would benefit from restriction. "The blood pressure benefit of restricting salt in the general population is minimal to absent," Dr. McCarron said. There also is no evidence that sodium restriction reduces any cardiovascular endpoints in people who are not salt sensitive.



Health

Delirium Could Be Prevented In A Third Of Cases

At least one third of cases of delirium could be prevented if better systems of care were in place according to a doctor in today's BMJ.

Delirium - a temporary state of acute confusion - is becoming a major burden on health care services in countries with ageing populations says Professor John Young.

Characterised by fluctuating awareness, confusion and impaired memory, delirium contributes substantially to rates of sickness and death in the population. The condition causes considerable distress to patients and families and it is expensive - Professor Young estimates the cost of treatment can run to an additional £1275 per patient.

It is the most frequent complication of hospital admission for older people and develops in up to half of older patients post-operatively, especially after a hip fracture or vascular surgery. People with delirium are also more likely to develop dementia and vice versa.

Question

Why Doesn't A Mothers Body Reject Her Fetus?

The immune system is designed to attack anything that is not the body's own tissues, such as pathogens and genetically nonidentical organ transplants, so why does the maternal immune system not attack a developing fetus? Several answers to this question are provided by a new study of mice from researchers at New York University School of Medicine.

In the study, which appears online on in advance of publication in the May print issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Adrian Erlebacher and colleagues show that when maternal immune cells known as T cells interact with fetal cells they can't "see" proteins that only their fetus expresses. By contrast, the same maternal T cells were able to "see" the fetal proteins when other maternal immune cells began picking up the fetal proteins around mid-gestation.

Health

Juries Overwhelmingly Side With Doctors in Malpractice Cases

Contrary to popular opinion, juries in malpractice suits side more often with doctors than with patients, according to a new study.

Even when cases are so strong that independent legal experts expect patient plaintiffs to win, juries still side with the defendants half the time.



Comment: To understand this pnenomenon better read The Cult of the Plausible Lie


Health

Unsafe sleepwalking, sleep driving linked to pills

Rare, bizarre and potentially dangerous side-effects of some prescription sleeping pills have prompted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to warn patients and doctors about the medications, including one that is available in Canada.